An Inver Grove Heights man is facing drug charges after police say they found a large quantity of cocaine in his pocket after his arrest in South St. Paul.
Joseph Scott Welch, 21, is charged with second-degree drug possession, a felony with a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.
South St. Paul police responded to a report of a suspicious vehicle just after 7 p.m. Dec. 2 in the 300 block of 8th Avenue South, according to the criminal complaint.
When an officer arrived, she found three people in the car: Welch, the passenger; an unnamed person in the driver’s seat; and a small child asleep in a car seat behind the driver.
Both the driver and Welch slid down in their seats. The officer approached the car, and when Welch rolled down the window, the officer smelled burnt marijuana, according to the complaint.
Welch began to reach down between his right leg and the door, and the officer told him to stop. She asked for his identification, and Welch identified himself with a fictitious name and birthdate, according to the complaint.
When Welch once again reached down his right side, the officer ordered him out of the car, handcuffed him and put him in the back of her squad car. He admitted that he had given her the wrong name because of outstanding arrest warrants, the complaint says.
When the officer removed Welch from the back seat so another officer could take him to jail, she found a plastic bag full of a white powdery substance, subsequently identified as 9.4 grams of cocaine, according to the complaint.
Welch has been released from custody on bond pending future court appearances.